BATON ROUGE - After already matching her school weight throw record this season with a top mark of 69 feet, 9 ¾ inches at the Armory Collegiate Invitational two weeks ago, Lady Tiger junior Denise Hinton smashed her own indoor mark with a winning throw of 70-9 ¼ during Friday's action at the LSU Twilight.
Hinton had already secured her fifth victory in six meets this season while entering the final round of throw with a top mark on the day of 65-5, but she saved her best for last as she unleashed a throw of 70-9 ¼ on her sixth and final attempt of the afternoon to emerge with a top-five national ranking for 2013.
Hinton moved up three spots to No. 4 in the NCAA rankings for the women's weight throw after opening Friday's competition with a best of 69-9 ¾ for the No. 7 spot nationally on the year.
She is the first Lady Tiger in program history to eclipse the 70-foot mark while throwing the 20-pound implement, and finished the day just three centimeters shy of matching the Carl Maddox Field House facility record of 70-10 ½ in the weight throw set five years ago by Kristal Yush of the Tiger Olympians at the Purple Tiger Classic to open the 2008 season.
A native of Peachtree City, Ga., Hinton finished nearly nine feet clear of the field junior teammate Karen Henning who also set a personal best of 61-10 ½ for a runner-up finish on the afternoon.
"I was really hoping to break that record here today," Hinton said. "I've been working to be really consistent this year, and I've done a pretty good job of that so far. I wasn't as consistent out there today as I have been this year, but I'm happy with that last throw. I'm throwing with a lot more confidence right now than I've ever had before. Confidence is a big thing for me."
Hinton added to her collection with her fifth weight throw title of the season and ninth victory in the event of her collegiate career.
She has also been crowned the weight throw champion at the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener, Texas A&M Triangular, Razorback Invitational and Tyson Invitational in 2013.
It proved to be a banner day for the Lady Tigers in their first event of the meet as both Henning and sophomore Tori Bliss shattered their own personal records in the weight throw. Henning recorded her best of 61-10 ½ on her fifth throw to secure second place and Bliss, a shot put specialist, posted a top mark of 53-0 ¾ on her sixth and final attempt to finish in eighth place overall.
Henning eclipsed her previous best of 60-10 set at the LSU Twilight meet a year ago, while Bliss broke her PR by nearly four feet after setting a previous best of 49-3 earlier this season.
Bliss also posted a lifetime PR on her final attempt in the shot put competition as she captured her third event crown of the season with a best of 51-10 ½ on her sixth throw of the afternoon.
Perhaps feeding off of the energy by the Lady Tigers competing in the weight throw nearby, Tiger sophomore Rodney Brown stepped into the shot put circle and responded with a PR performance of his own as he shattered his lifetime best in a third-place finish in his indoor specialty.
On his third throw of the preliminary round, Brown uncorked the shot a distance of 57-5 from the circle to move into third place in the competition and easily advance to the final. It stood for third place in the final standings as Brown added his second third-place finish of the day after throwing 59-9 ½ for third place in the men's weight throw in the opening event of the meet.
Brown even finished with a mark of 56-6 ½ on his sixth and final shot put throw that was also an improvement of his previous PR of 56-3 entering the meet.
While Hinton cracked the Top 5 of the NCAA rankings in the weight throw for the first time in 2013, junior teammate Keri Emanuel leaped into the Top 10 of the NCAA rankings in the long jump by posting an impressive lifetime personal best on back-to-back jumps en route to a second-place finish during Friday's action at the LSU Twilight.
After qualifying for the final with a mark of 19-10 ¼ on her third jump, Emanuel posted back-to-back marks of 20-5 ¾ on her fourth and fifth jumps to secure second place and move up six spots into No. 9 on the NCAA performance list this season. She finished runner-up in the competition to former Louisiana Tech All-American and 2012 U.S. Olympian Chelsea Hayes (20-6 ¼).
Emanuel is now one of the NCAA's Top 10 performers in both horizontal jumps as she ranks No. 7 in the triple jump with a best of 42-8 ¾ and No. 9 in the long jump with a best of 20-5 ¾ in 2013.
Also soaring past the 20-foot mark in the long jump during Friday's competition with a seasonal best was Lady Tiger senior Brittany Porter, who followed Emanuel in third place overall after opening with a top mark of 20-0 ½ on her first attempt before matching her 2013 best on her third attempt of the afternoon.
Just one week after clearing an indoor PR of 17-3 in the pole vault at the Tyson Invitational, Tiger junior Thomas Reinecke raised his indoor best to 17-3 ½ with a second-attempt clearance to take home an event title with the No. 10-ranked performance in school history. Fellow junior Jaora Johnson followed in second place with a clearance of 16-9 ½.
The Tigers also completed a distance sweep during Friday's action as sophomore Philips Primeaux (4:19.73) won the mile and freshman Travis Pope (9:04.85) won the 3,000 meters.
Other LSU athletes setting indoor personal records at this year's LSU Twilight meet include freshmen Fitzroy Dunkley with a mark of 49-5 for third place in the triple jump, Therese Jernbeck with a mark of 38-4 for ninth place in the shot put and Aliyah Davis with a time of 7.76 in the 60-meter dash.
"This was a good way for our teams to wrap up the regular season and turn our attention to the championship season starting next weekend," said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. "We saw it again today. Some of those who competed really took advantage of the opportunity to get just a little bit better and put themselves in a position to help our team in the championship meets.
"Our teams have worked so hard to have themselves ready to go at this time of the year. We look forward the challenge that is to come."
With the regular season now in the books, the Tigers and Lady Tigers look to step up their game in the championship season as they return to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete at the 2013 SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships being held Feb. 22-24 at the Randal Tyson Track Center at the University of Arkansas. The Razorbacks will also play host to the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships to wrap up this year's indoor campaign on March 8-9.